Government removes funding to help victims of discrimination

(January 27, 2012)

Mark is urging the Government to rethink its decision to cut funding from a local charity that provides a free service to victims of discrimination.  

For 6 years the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has provided funding to Preston and Western Lancashire Racial Equality Council, a local Charity. It has provided a free service to all citizens of Preston and Lancashire who have been victims of discrimination.The service has dealt with a wide range of discrimination issues including gender, race and disability cases.

The Government has now withdrawn the power for the EHRC to provide this fund and as a result the service will close on the 31st March. A national telephone help line has been proposed by the Government but campaigners have branded this as “simple cosmetics”, and that dealing with cases of discrimination is best dealt with at a local level.

Mark said “The Government continues to hammer the most vulnerable in our society. Preston and Western Lancashire Racial Equality Council provides a key service supporting victims of discrimination. Last year the charity got £60,000 from the EHRC, the Government claims ‘we are all in this together’, these words are hollow when they are cutting funding which helps the most vulnerable in our community.

I have written to the Home Secretary asking for an explanation and have urged her to reinstate the fund.” 

Faruk Desai, Chief Executive of Western Lancashire Racial Equality said ““The current service provides a free legal support, advice and representation to individuals who have experienced discrimination. The service is offered to all victims of discrimination in the field of Race, Gender, Religion and Belief, Disability, Sexual orientation and others covered by the Equality Act 2010. 

Discrimination cases are complex and difficult to prove which discourage the no win no fee lawyers and compensation awards are often too low to justify the hiring of a private solicitor. Further more cases are employment-based and clients are not eligible for legal aid. In most cases, the victims will be left to fight his/her case alone.”

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